For almost 30 years, Wanda A. Green followed her childhood dream. "As a teenager, she always wanted to fly, so she finally got her wings," said her mother, Aserene Smith.
As a young woman, Wanda Green sought her mother's blessing to become a flight attendant. Though Aserene Smith was hesitant, she finally relented, and Wanda Green became one of the first African-Americans to join United Airlines as a flight attendant, according to her mother.
Green, 49, was aboard United Airlines Flight 93 when it was hijacked and crashed in Pennsylvania on Tuesday.
A mother of two--Jennifer, 21, and Joe Benjamin, 18--Green loved to travel and regularly planned trips to Europe.
Her mother spoke to her the night before the doomed flight. "I said `I love you and I'll see you tomorrow,' and that was it."
Profile courtesy of THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE.
Wanda Anita Green, 49, loved to help
Whether she was listening to neighbors at their front gates in Linden, befriending the families she helped to find homes as a real estate agent, or comforting children during rough landings as a part-time United Airlines flight attendant, Wanda Anita Green delighted in helping others.
Green, 49, was an earnest listener who never judged, said her longtime friend and fellow flight attendant Sugar Manley.
"She would stay up all night with you, she just cared for your soul, your spirit," said Manley.
As a deacon at Linden Presbyterian Church, Mrs. Green visited people in local hospitals, and volunteered her time for church activities, said her daughter, Jennifer Green.
Mrs. Green adored dancing the cha-cha and the slide, said Manley, but she wouldn't buy herself new dancing shoes unless her children each had two pair.
"Oh, she would sacrifice it all for her children," said Manley. "Her shoes might have had a slight hole in them, but she wouldn't do for herself. Her kids came first."
Mrs. Green, who worked as a United Airlines flight attendant for 29 years and was getting ready to retire, was aboard the hijacked United Flight 93 from Newark to San Francisco when it crashed in rural Pennsylvania on Tuesday. Mrs. Green had planned to visit her mother in Oakland, Calif.
"Wherever she went, she made a friend, she really cared about people," said Jennifer Green.
Mrs. Green grew up in Oakland and married and lived for several years in Rockland County, N.Y., before settling in Linden.
After she earned a real estate license in 1996, Mrs. Green flew less frequently, and she worked as an office manager and agent at NorthStar Realty in South Orange.
In addition to Jennifer, Mrs. Green is survived by a son, Joe; her former husband, Joe Green of Stamford, Conn.; her parents, Francis and Aserene Smith of Oakland; sister and brother-in-law Sandra and Aristeed Jamerson of Antioch, Calif.; brother and sister-in-law Tommy and Tammy Smith of Fairfield, Calif.; nieces Arion Jamerson of Antioch, Calif., and Portia Smith of Fairfield, Calif.; nephew Frank Jamerson of Antioch, Calif.; and father-in-law Joe Green of Queens, N.Y.
A candlelight memorial service will be held Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Linden Presbyterian Church, 1506 Orchard Terrace in Linden.
Profile by Dore Carroll published in THE STAR-LEDGER.